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Jimmy Van Bramer Contracts COVID-19, Blames Cuomo for Not Scrapping Petitioning Requirement

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer petitioning in Sunnyside on Saturday (Photo: Queens Post)

March 17, 2021 By Christian Murray

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who is running for Queens Borough President, has tested positive for COVID-19 and believes that he contracted the virus while petitioning over the weekend.

Van Bramer said that he was tested for the virus Monday and got word Tuesday that he was infected. He said that he was also tested last Thursday, when the results came back negative.

“I didn’t do any public facing events on Friday but was doing a lot of petitioning on Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “I must have come into contact with hundreds of people.”

Van Bramer said he was gathering signatures in Sunnyside, Jackson Heights and Forest Hills over the weekend—as he needs 1,200 signatures to get on the ballot.

“We now have three times that—but we’re shooting for 5,000 because I am not the machine candidate,” he said.  Candidates, he said, who have not been endorsed by the Queens County Democratic party–dubbed the machine–tend to have the validity of their signatures challenged to get them off the ballot.

Donovan Richards, the current borough president, seeks reelection and won the party’s endorsement.

Van Bramer, who said that he has been tested 19 times for COVID in the past year, said he was wearing two masks over the weekend. He said that he has been very cautious about contracting COVID-19, given his job and how he looks after his 81-year-old mother three days a week.

“I have taken a lot of precautions over the last year and have tested a lot,” Van Bramer said. He said that he was disappointed to get the diagnosis now, since public-facing government workers have recently just become eligible to get the vaccine.

Van Bramer said he will be doing his council work remotely and will continue with his campaign for borough president. He said that he is asymptomatic and will be in discussion with his doctor today as to quarantining.

The councilmember said that he is likely the victim of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision that candidates gather signatures to get on the ballot.

He and a number of candidates filed an unsuccessful lawsuit last month calling for the signature requirement to be dropped due to the risk to public safety stemming from COVID-19.

Van Bramer said that the number of signatures required was dropped by 70 percent due to COVID but argued that the Cuomo administration insisted that petitioning was still required.

“The governor–who I think has blood on his hands on so many levels in respect to COVID–made a political decision [to keep petitioning] and has played with people’s lives,” Van Bramer said.

He said that by requiring the signatures, it provided the machine with an opportunity to get candidates struck off the ballot.

Van Bramer said thousands of people have been petitioning over the last two weeks and it involves close contact. It requires stopping people, chatting with them and then handing them the clip board and pen to sign.

“Across the city, there must have been hundreds of thousands of interactions,” he said.

Van Bramer, however, remains hopeful that he will remain asymptomatic.

“I was in perfect health when I had my last physical,” he said. However, “there have been much younger people in good health that have got very, very sick so I’m taking it day by day.”

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Angela Sun

Wish you a speedy recovery. Have you ever noticed a senior Asian woman who has been lived in a self-made shelter outdoor underneath the #7 train 46 St station in the severe cold and highly affected pandemic environment for three years without any help from your office? Please be caring, do your job after your recovery. Thank you. A Sunnysider since 1972.

nom de plum

He could have caught the virus in front of his house… people are strolling, walking their dog and NOT wearing masks in Sunnyside!Wake up people…we are still contagious so don’t leave your droplets in the air


So he and his people collected thousands more signatures than they needed to just in case, prolonging their possible exposure time, but that’s Cuomo’s fault?

Talia A

So he and his people collected thousands more signatures than they needed to, prolonging their possible exposure time, but that’s Cuomo’s fault?

Be a human being for God’s sake.

Although I oppose his candidacy, I wish him a quick, painless recovery with no lingering after effects.

Know when to fold your cards

Stop blaming. Stop jumping on fads. Let go of the thirst for power and public money. You did a reasonable job for two terms.


if he couldnt even take care of himself, how can we trust him to take care of our community?

Trump couldn't defend the Capitol

but we trusted him to take care of our entire nation. How is this different?


Hoping for a quick recover. Having said that, I’m surprised he didn’t jump the Covid vaccination line as did many politicians. After all, aren’t they “indispensable”?


He was out in Hunters Point South without a mask. Where else has been without out one. Who is to blame? Himself.

LIC Direct

Sorry he got COVID19, and hope he has no complications, but how irresponsible of him, how many did he infect being Asymptomatic in passing? But always the showman Watch him use this as a ploy for sympathy, the man of the people got infected while hustling, cavassing, getting signatures hitting the pavement, etc. He’s an ambicious, JVB The Super Sunnyside Councilman.
NOW Quarantine, stay home, sip on some chicken soup, stay in bed, catch up on your netflix, read a book, relax and stop your ambicious quest for a few weeks and just give it a rest and use the time wisely to convince yourself, take this as a sign from G-d that you’ll never be reelected for public office in NYC again.

Gardens Watcher

Sorry to hear that. Just goes to show how insidious this virus is, and how much more transmissible the new variants are, especially the NYC variant.

Also, I see from the photograph that you weren’t wearing ANY eye protection, and were NOT socially distanced from your own canvassers!

In fact, I passed numerous people out walking, No masks, No social distancing. You could have caught it anywhere. I also walked passed a few of your canvassers today on QBlvd, not double-masked, not socially distanced from the passing public. Not taking proper protocol protections is a public health problem for everyone.

As for petitioning, People running for office need to show enough support to be on the ballot. Otherwise, I could run for office just by filing for it. Blame the virus, but to try and turn this into Cuomo’s fault is ridiculous.


Andrew Cuomo is the one that is opening everything back up in ny state and city. Trump is no longer president. Someone has to be blamed. And btw most black voters in NY want the governor investigated but do not want him to resign. That has a lot to do with the accusers looking like Becky’s and Karen’s.

If you say it's a risk, then treat it like a risk

I hope Jimmy recovers quickly. I wish him the best.

But, did Jimmy say this before or after his positive test?

“We now have three times that [1,200 signatures]—but we’re shooting for 5,000 because I am not the machine candidate,”

If Jimmy sued Cuomo because he believes canvassing is a Covid risk, maybe he should not canvass excessively. He already has 3x the threshold…


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